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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Motion City Soundtrack: Even If It Kills Me (2007)

This album cover is so pretty, I am obsessed with the colors...

Motion City Soundtrack (consisting of Joshua Cain, Jesse Johnson, Justin Pierre, Matthew Taylor and Tony Thaxton) is a great pop punk band from Minneapolis, Minnesota. They aren’t as big as Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance, but their hit single off of the smart and catchy 2005 album Commit This To Memory, “Everything Is Alright” was played incessantly, and I don’t even listen to the radio (It’s still a great song regardless). I think what sets this band apart from the other pop punk breed is lead singer Justin Pierre’s dynamic and interesting voice as well their tongue-in-cheek, self-referential lyrics and use of the moog synthesizer. Plus their songs are great fun and they don’t take themselves too seriously or act like they don’t take themselves too seriously. With trepidation I approach the issue that most fans of the genre take with ALL their bands with each new album. They complain that these bands lose their “punk-edge” and songs get softer. Honestly if you thought Fall Out Boy was a real punk rock band to begin with, what the hell was Green Day then? The Dead Kennedys? Anyways, these bands are pop punk and they produce fun sugary songs about the times when our lives feel more dramatic than they actually are. Unlike most of these bands I appreciate Motion City Soundtrack because they don’t go overboard with the theatrics. With that said Even If It Kills Me (their third album) is a solid record that does what Motion City soundtrack does best. The first single “Broken Heart” produced by Ric Ocasek (He produces about half the record) takes everything great about their last album and combines it into one fun little song about not getting so obsessed and over dramatic when it comes to heartache. Justin Pierre's words role off the tongue, “But I get carried away/with every phrase and made up malady/The longer I hide behind these lies/The more I disintegrate/…But I never get used to it, you just have to live with it.” Every Emo kid should be taking notes right now. Possibly my favorite track “Can’t Finish What You Started” is quite soulful and has some of the best melodies and harmonies on the entire album. This song gets pretty self-referential about the writing process and I always enjoy songs that talk about trying to write something. The end of this song gets me every time. Another highlight is "Point Of Extinction" with the greatest hook they’ve probably written, “I'm so tired/I've had enough/If there's one thing I've learned/You'll always get burned/But you'll never give it up.” After the first listen you’ll be singing it at the top of your lungs. I am a bit sad that the Moog and the synths get buried in the mix a bit, but they work in subtler ways. Traditional piano is more prominent this time around and it’s a welcome addition. I must say Tony Thaxton’s drumming on the entire album is fantastic and I find myself air-drumming along as often as I am able handed (air-drumming while biking is not recommended). Overall Motion City Soundtrack put out a satisfying follow up with Even If It Kills Me. They remind me why pop punk is so fun, so successful and so divisive; they tap into the part in all of us that desperately cries out whenever bad things happen, “This means something, this is important! Please listen and sing along with me.”

Motion City Soundtrack-“Point Of Extinction”

Motion City Soundtrack on myspace
Epitaph Records

Mp3 of the Week: "You And Me" by Penny & The Quarters

I’ve always wanted to do an Mp3 of the week, but I haven’t hustled myself enough to do it. I’m going to try now and we’ll see how it goes.

Yeah yeah it's a lame picture, but come on!

What better way to kick this off than with a group whose only song ever recorded is the one I have here. Released on Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label, "You And Me" is a “is a random rehearsal by a group no one can remember (Dante Carfagna and Rob Sevier).” What a random rehearsal! This song is quite the classic fifties-sounding pop standard. But there is something much more enthralling and exciting about it. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s the only song they ever recorded (to our knowledge) or maybe it’s the humorously sweet name they picked or maybe it’s just because the song is so damn good. Whatever the reason this song is pure soul and it’ll drive itself straight into your heart.

Penny & The Quarters-"You And Me"

Numero Group
The Linear Notes from Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label

Checking In At The Hotel Chevalier (2007)

In case you didn’t know (And how could you not!), Wes Anderson’s new film The Darjeeling Limited comes out tomorrow (and by tomorrow, I mean in a few weeks because I’m not in LA, New York or San Francisco). However, today we get an opportunity, thanks to Apple, to see the short film Hotel Chevalier, a thirteen minute precursor to The Darjeeling Limited starring Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman. It’s classic Anderson in its style, great music selection, dead pan acting and a subtle to not-so-subtle mix of tragedy and humor. Since I haven’t seen The Darjeeling Limited I do not know what impact this little film will have on the narrative or Jason Schwartzmen’s character, but it stands on its own as another great example of the refined and original style that Wes Anderson has created.

Plan to stay a night at the Hotel Chevalier

Hotel Chevalier on IMDB
Interview with Wes Anderson in The New York Times

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who Is Marion Black?

Possibly the only picture of him (?)...

Only recording a handle of 45s, Marion Black is a man who should have been a legend, but as Dante Carfagna and Rob Sevier put it in the liner notes to Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label, “Black’s career slowed down when it should have sped up.” All I have thanks to Numero Group, is three songs (planning on getting the other two when the paycheck roles in). Most people will know Marion Black’s distinctive soulful voice as a sample in rjd2’s eerie track “Smoke & Mirrors” off his 2002 album Deadringer. The moment I heard Black’s voice I felt like I was listening to a being from centuries ago. The cracks and the dust reveal wisdom and sorrow. The song sampled is “Who Knows” a song that I can’t even begin to describe. It’s got an amazing bass line, drums that hop along, and the piano perfectly compliments his voice; haunted, soothing and full of longing. Here are the lyrics, simple and efficient, but yeah I’m having a hard time talking about this; just read and listen.

“Who knows what tomorrow will bring
Maybe sunshine, and maybe rain
But as for me I'll wait and see
And maybe it'll bring my love to me
Who knows
Who knows
Who knows it better than I
That it's she who's keeping me alive
Keeping the little girl as my goal
Makes my life worth living you know
Another day
Another day
Just another day
I wanna live
To share the love that only she can give
And if she don't come on home
I pray the lord will help me carry on
Another day
Another day
Just another day”

The deep soul of that song is complimented by the mournful protest of “Listen Black Brother,” A song about black on black violence. His impassioned vocals plea and cry out shaking all of our socially shaped sensibilities. The third song I have “Come On And Gettit” is completely from left field (Although I can’t be sure since I only own three of his songs!). It is as if he turned into James Brown and drank a hundred Red Bulls. The energy in this freak workout of a song is insane! He yelps and shakes, getting in a groove so funky it should be illegal. Whoever is playing the guitar in this track isn’t human, they’re from another world.

I feel like I’m having trouble comprehending the genius that is Marion Black, but with so little information on the man, how could anyone get a grasp of all this? I’m just happy Numero Group (An amazing archival label) is giving us all an opportunity to hear songs and artists who got left behind in history with a capitol H. I can only try and persuade you to listen to Marion Black, but when you do listen you’ll be won over easily by this lost legend.

Marion Black-"Who Knows"
Marion Black-"Come On And Gettit"

Numero Group: Buy the Eccentric Soul series and other great compilations

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tinyfolk: Bill (2007)

Tinyfolk’s new album Bill is the most epic lo-fi album I’ve ever heard. For the uninitiated Tinyfolk comes from the mind of Russ Woods (and sometimes Meghan Lamb) and is from Indiana. On occasion Russ’s voice reminds me of Daniel Johnston, but his standard instrument of choice is a baritone ukulele. As Tinyfolk he writes quirky, cute songs with a dash of longing behind all of them. I’ve had the pleasure of playing a show with him a few months back and he was so nice and just as adorable in person. But I should get back to Bill. If you were expecting another “Love Is A Thing” you are gravely mistaken. Right out of the gate “Antlers” begins as a fantasy-like spoken word exchange before melting into a baroque world of animals and beasts and then it gallops into a desperate rhythm questioning a girl’s motivation. And this is only in the first song. My favorite song on the album “Dear Apollo” comes next and showcases Russ’s unique voice killing that Daniel Johnston comparison I made earlier. The way he sings the chorus “And they cry out to me” is simply sublime (you can only sing it loudly when sung aloud). On the entire album Tinyfolk greatly increases his repertoire with expansive and interesting arrangements not limited to: samples of bird calls, banjos, piano, and synthesizers. The exponential increase does not take away any of Tinyfolk’s charm and in fact his voice is the center for all of the songs on Bill. The nostalgic sounding, but forward thinking “Really Blue: A Tale of Unrequited (Perhaps) Romance and Lizardry” really grinds itself deep into our own feelings towards the past and longing. Russ sings, “The skies looking bluer than I ever remembered it being during high school/it’s like you and me we’ve got a sea way up above our heads/it’s really, really, blue/And I know you could never love a lizard boy like me/but on a big wet sunny day like this I like to just pretend/so don’t take me seriously” His voice belts earnestly while a beautiful synth line weaves its way along the poetry. “You Can Call Me Al” a cover of a Paul Simon song from his album Graceland is a fantastic cover because it is sung like it isn’t one. It follows the arrangement pretty closely (using the same horn arrangement but on synths humorously this time) but I would never know that it was a cover if I hadn’t heard the original! I know some might say the point of that previous statement is obvious, but some covers reveal their original artists quite easily (Any Beatles cover pretty much). The other cover on Bill is also a highlight. “(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me (written as “Always Something There” on this album)” is a Burt Bacharach song, but I will always remember the 1980s version from the band Naked Eyes (Those "Best of the 80s" compilation ads played every five minutes when I was a kid!). This song is the last song on the album and returns to some familiar territory from his previous album "Platapeasawallaland": A Rainy-Day Owlbum. It’s simple, cute, and Meghan sings on it! It is very effective at making this infectious tune even more infectious. Bill is a sprawling epic of an album, but maintains a high level of intimacy and a bit of humor that makes listening fun and more enjoyable each time. I put it on more and more each day.

Tinyfolk-"Dear Apollo"

Tinyfolk on myspace
Get Bill and many more great music from Pop Monster Collective

The Robot Is No Longer Eating Ryland

I know this is rather late, but for those who don’t know Ryland Bouchard will no longer perform under the moniker The Robot Ate Me. I saw him a few months ago play in SB and I am incredibly happy that I did. His live shows are interactive art pieces that have to be experienced to be believed. His albums range from quiet, tender and intimate to wondrous, strange, and experimental. Here is a farewell letter from Ryland himself:


I'm somewhere in New York state, eventually driving back home to Oregon. I've been traveling the country trying to determine where my life should go. This pursuit has been more difficult than I had imagined it would be. In any case, I need to clarify some things so that when I get home everything will be clean and tidy:

I whole heartedly appreciate the support you all have provided me since 2002 with this project, but it's over. This doesn't mean music will not be released by me, just that this project has reached its logical end. I need to explore new ideas and begin collaborations that will continue my interest in music.

There will be two releases unrelated to The Robot Ate Me coming out next year but all the details will need to be worked out in the coming months as recordings are completed and so on. Again, I can't thank everyone enough.”
- Ryland

I am sad, but am also excited to see what comes next from him. R.I.P. The Robot Ate Me. Here are two amazing songs from the underrated Carousel Waltz.

The Robot Ate Me-"Regret"
The Robot Ate Me-"Come Together"

The Robot Ate Me on myspace

Friday, September 21, 2007

Southland Tales Trailer FINALLY ARRIVES!

I’m not a big Donnie Darko geek, but I will defend the film when ever people criticize it. Well, I’ll defend the Director’s Cut at least. The original was a romance with sci-fi touches whereas the Director’s Cut is full-blown sci-fi masterpiece. So when I heard Richard Kelly’s next film was going to be a sprawling epic about the end of the world set in LA I was immediately excited. Then the film really never came out and it had a bad screening at Cannes. I heard that it was a bit messy and long, but I knew that Kelly could get it right. Well finally after two years of post-production hell Southland Tales is finally coming out November 9th. Just watch the trailer yourself, words can’t really describe...

Wow. I’m sold. If I believe what I’m seeing I cannot wait. Filmmakers need to take more risks and it looks like Richard Kelly is taking a bold step. I’d rather take a messy film that tries something new than some well-scripted movie that retreads old ground.

...Plus the tagline is just really cool.

This is the way the world ends. Not with a whimper, but with a bang.

Southland Tales on IMDB
Interview with Richard Kelly in the LA Times

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut: Galápagos (1985)

This entire summer I’ve been entranced by the words of Kurt Vonnegut reading several of his books including: the greatest anti-war novel Slaughterhouse-Five, the tender tale of a man’s discovery of the meaning of life across the universe in The Sirens of Titan, and the blackest tale of how we are all what we pretend to be in Mother Night and then to the great novel on evolution, Galápagos.
Galápagos is (in its most simple terms) about the redemption of mankind. Due in part to luck, fate and Natural Selection mankind is spared from complete oblivion caused by our big brains. The “Nature Cruise of The Century” is set to sail to the Galápagos Islands in 1986; little did its passengers know that they would become the new cradle of a new civilization. To understate our fate one million years in the future, we basically become seals. How Kurt Vonnegut gets us to that point it is told humorously and matter-of-factly by the ghost of Leon Trout, the son of Vonnegut’s favorite character, sci-fi writer Kilgore Trout. The passengers that aid in the creation of a new humankind include a female high school biology teacher, an inept captain, a pregnant Japanese women with problems from the fallout of Hiroshima, the blind daughter of a wealthy businessman and six girls of the kaka-bono tribe from Ecuador. However, there are various other characters who aid (most of them inadvertently) these passengers into their million year long journey. This tale mostly focuses on how the characters get to their fateful cruise and up to the point when all the processes are set in place for our eventual evolution into the ocean and fish-catching. Through out the novel however Leon Trout makes comments about how we end up to a humorous and poignant effect. This tale isn’t absurd insomuch as it is the absurdity of the world that causes our near and almost complete destruction. The ghosts of the Vietnam War rear their heads throughout the novel and Vonnegut uses that great catastrophe and other events in human history to show that it is our big brains fault for all of it, mankind’s greatest evolutionary flaw. It is a telling novel and does not jump out as immediately as some of his other classics, but it is subtle and proves the deep humanism that weaves through all of Kurt Vonnegut’s works. Perhaps it is the epigraph of the novel that says the most about Galápagos and why we humans will survive,

“In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.”-Anne Frank


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kanye West: Graduation (2007)

I don’t know what it was, but I’ve been in a big Kanye West kick the last two months or so, even before “Stronger” was a single, I think. Regardless, rap is the genre of music where I am most lacking. Inuit folk music runs a close second. What I enjoy so much about Kanye West is what he has to say and his skills as a producer. Late Registration is a headphones record one hundred percent with its rich strings (courtesy of Jon Brion) and intricate sampling and layering (The amazingly powerful “Gone” with a sample of Otis Redding’s “It’s Too Late” and some dominating cellos). The College Dropout has some of the best examples of the sped up or slowed down samples that Kanye made so popular (See “School Spirit” featuring Aretha Franklin’s “Spirit In The Dark”). It is also a great example of a young man who refused to make beats for other rappers in a back room for the rest of his life (see the underrated anthem “Through The Wire”). Now some say Kanye has an ego problem, but anyone who has become as successful as he has in such a short time would certainly think that maybe they have a little something special about them. However, Kanye is a neurotic fool and fame has come easy in some ways and in some ways it has become too much for the man. All this being said Graduation is Kanye West’s most unnerving, but most accessible album to date. Not as sonically dense as Late Registration it makes up for it with interesting beats and lyrics that reward immediately and even more so with time. Considering the other two albums had over twenty tracks, it is a lean mean fighting machine with only thirteen tracks. Kanye ditches the skits this time around (I usually hate rap skits, but some of his were actually listenable) and really focuses on making a great set of songs. I’m having trouble saying my favorites because over half the album is so damn enjoyable after only a half dozen listens. The first six songs are almost perfectly sequenced and sound good with the windows rolled down. In fact this whole album is definitely a driving album in a bizarre way. Even with his Kanye’s neuroses poking its head in every song, I can’t help but groove along with him. “Champion” using a sample of Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne” explores one of Kanye’s atypical paths to the top and jokes about his current status, “I don’t see why I need a stylist/ When I shopped so much/ I can speak Italian.” On probably the most enjoyable track on Graduation “The Good Life” featuring T-Pain and containing a sample of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” is a classic summer jam that will get blasted in all the clubs and house parties. It is a definite feel good anthem with a whimsy that feels natural, not forced. “Cuz I always had a passion for flashin’/Before I had it I’d close my eyes and imagine,” raps Kanye spouting out his method of dreaming to us. Its hopeful attitude is surprising, but fitting. Not that we have the same dreams as Kanye, but we all remember a time when we could envision a utopian future unmarred by the reality of our surroundings. I have to mention “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” because of how hilarious the music video is featuring comedian Zach Galifinakas. It is a great video that perfectly fits the serious but “I want to sing along to this loudly” kind of tone. You can view it here. “The Glory” on the flipside of “Champion” focuses more on current topics of Kanye’s success. It contains lovely “elements” and samples of “Save The Country” performed by Laura Nyro and “Long Red” performed by Mountain respectively. These pieces come together making something reminiscent of 60s summer pop songs. It’s fun and it makes me smile. “I’m gonna stop killing these niggaz soon as the chorus hits/ these haters be killing theyself the want to come and get the glory!” You tell ‘em Kanye. The College Dropout and Late Registration both had songs that stuck out as heavy hitters rather obviously (“Jesus Walks” and “Diamonds of Sierra Leone” respectively) and while there is nothing like that here, repeated listens of “Homecoming” make it a big contender for its power in describing how memories are used in the present as tools to change the future. Featuring Chris Martin on chorus duty to surprising effect he sings “I’m comin’ home again/do you think about me now and then/do you think about me now and then/cuz I’m comin’ home again/...maybe we can start again,” while Kanye sandwiches it with verses about a girl from back home and how their story has evolved over time. Overall Graduation is a very surprising and satisfying junior album from producer-turned-rapper Kanye West whose mind is too big and knows it and he wants you to know that he knows it and that he can make a great song out of all of this. Now if you excuse me I’m going to build my own studio. I got beats for sale. I can rap too. I can make it big.

Kanye West-“The Good Life (Feat. T-Pain)”

Kanye West on Myspace
Wikipedia page for Graduation

Monday, September 10, 2007

Iron Man Trailer Clangs onto Teh Interwebz

In another bit of nerd-tastic news today, Apple released the official trailer for the Iron Man film coming May 2nd, 2008 starring Robert Downey Jr., Terrance Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow. I’m not a big super hero fan, but I am a big Robert Downey Jr. fan and this should be a fun movie to see in the theaters. The trailer is pretty funny and cool; and using that particular song is almost too much, but it holds together for me regardless. I can’t wait.

Click below for glorious Quicktime!!
Iron Man trailer

Iron man on IMDB
More nerd talkback on AICN

4th Indiana Jones title announced

For being a big sci-fi/fantasty nerd as a kid (and now) I was never that into Indiana Jones. However I am watching the progress of the fourth installment with great interest and today they officially announced the title of the 4th movie to be released May 22nd, 2008 starring Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen, John Hurt, Ray Winstone and Jim Broadbent.

Without further ado…

It sounds as cool as any of the other titles and it has that old adventure movie feel to it. Could be good. I’ll have to watch the old ones again.

AICN news story, read a talkback with tons of bitchy nerds!

MIX TWO: NorCal Road Trip Mix

The open road, the open sky

It was time again for another road trip up to Northern California (“affectionately” dubbed NorCal). Work was slow, I felt a comfortably confident about my place in class, my legs were itching to see the highway and I had lots of good music and I need even more good music. I headed to Santa Rosa and Berkeley this time around to visit some close friends. There are some great music and movie stories there too. However on the way up I had to stop at Best Buy (there are none in Santa Barbara). They were having a $3.99 movie sale and though most of the movies were bad I was able to pick up Pi, Audition and American Psycho. I also bought a “greatest hits” compilation of The Temptations comprising of their songs from the 60s (their best period). If you ever get out to Santa Rosa (home of Charles Schultz and the location of Hitchcock’s first American film Shadow of a Doubt) you should all definitely check out The Last Record Store. Located next to the Junior College, this little but packed record store hosts an interesting, but diverse collection of CDs, vinyl and music DVDS. The Reggae section is the most impressive and the vinyl has great prices. I was able to find the recent but rare Flight of the Conchords EP The Distant Future and Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline on vinyl. The album cover is possibly one of my favorite album covers ever. I didn’t spend too much there because I knew once I strolled into Berkeley on a Sunday afternoon I would be going to Rasputin. My favorite record store, it hosts an impressive diversity of CDs, vinyl, tape and an amazing DVD section in the store (Note: They have a large section devoted to Criterion Collection and foreign films). While I was there I was able to pick up Darren Aronofsky’s greatly ignored epic from 2006 The Fountain and Wong Kar-wai’s amazingly poetic film 2046. I also found the sort of rare album Black Monk Time from the anti-Beatles The Monks, and one of Numero Group’s amazing compilations Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label. The next day I could not resist, I had to go to Amoeba too. I mean I have a job now, I can afford all this right? The Amoeba in Berkeley (down the street from Rasputin mind you) is not nearly as impressive as the one in Hollywood, but it still is great for carrying stuff that you would only be able to buy online. I was able to find Bob Dylan’s under appreciated 1970 album New Morning, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone’s second album of lo-fi goodness Pocket Symphonies for Lonesome Subway Cars, The Pogues Irish Folk Punk masterpiece Rum Sodomy & The Lash, and Bob Dylan’s “Reggae” album Infidels on vinyl.

My friend's apartment overlooking Telegraph in Berkeley.

Too much good music to manage, but six hour long car rides gave me ample to time to explore these albums and then some. So without further ado here is my NorCal mix, enjoy!

The Monks-“Monk Time”
The Monks were a group of soldiers who were stationed in Germany together. They became dubbed the anti-Beatles for their focus on rhythm as opposed to melody. Everything about The Monks can be found in this great opener off of Black Monk Time; anti-war Dadaist yelps, tribal-like drums, monk like chanting, and just all around coolness with being formally against everything 60s.

Rilo Kiley-“15”
This lovely horn laden track off of their latest album Under The Blacklight took some time to grow on me, but now I love it. This is a great song to sing while following the dusty landscapes. I mean what can be better than singing, “But she was only/only/only/15!” at the top of your lungs with the windows rolled down? Plus the theramin solo is just wicked.

Bob Dylan-“The Man In Me”
Kind of a cult favorite, this track off of 1970’s New Morning is so sublimely happy, is it to good to be true? Maybe, but I don’t care and neither should you. Just sing those la la las until everyone on the highway starts singing along.

Joe King-“Speak On Up”
Normally a guitarist for other Prix artists like Eddie Ray he got his own shot at singing duties in this quasi-gospel number. He has a smooth, unassuming voice that totally sells this tale of yearning and desire. On the road we have time to think of those ones who we wish would love us, and we just want them to “Speak on up!” All we need is some back up singers.

Kanye West-“School Spirit”
Right now I am in a big Kanye West mode. This hot track off of his first album The College Dropout is one of the best examples of Kanye’s signature style of using great samples and speeding them up. Here he use’s Aretha Franklin’s “Spirit In The Dark” to maximum effect while rapping about dropping out of college to make it big. If only I were so brave. Whatever, I’m living vicariously through this song.

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone-“Destroy The Evidence”
Owen is a pretty emotional guy, but this one packs a wallop. Listening to this song at 5:30am on the road brought tears to my eyes. It has a great drum track and Owen is the Vonnegut of lo-fi with lines like “There are 26 steps to your door/but I’m not counting anymore”. There is nothing so succinctly said, but so expansively felt.

Otis Redding-“Pain In My Heart”
Perhaps the greatest song about heartbreak of all time, Otis Redding’s voice digs so deep into our minds and our hearts that I sit back reeling by how physically effected I get while listening. Try singing along to this and not losing your voice by the end of it. Sadly Otis Redding was not with us for very long, but his legacy will last beyond the end of time with songs like this.

The Pogues-“A Pair of Brown Eyes”
Shane MacGowen is the greatest drunk poet of the last thirty years and it really stands out in this track off of their second album Rum Sodomy & The Lash. “And I heard the sounds of long ago from the old canal/and the birds were whistling in the trees/Where the wind was gently laughing.” Sentimentality has often been associated with schmaltz, but Shane MacGowen and The Pogues shed those labels. They took gritty realism and infused it with romantic sentimentality creating songs like this one that made you cry and smile at the same time. A great sing along too, “And a rovin’ and a rovin’ and rovin’ I’ll go/for a pair of brown eyes!”

The Temptations-“I Wish It Would Rain”
This 1968 tune from Motown’s greatest hits all the right notes at all the right moments. Probably one of the most melancholy songs sung with the original lineup you just can’t help but feel lines like, “But everyone knows that a man ain't suppose to cry, listen/I gotta cry 'cause cryin' eases the pain, oh yeah.” All the men out there gotta sing this one loud!

Freezepop-“Outer Space”
This song by my favorite Synthpop band is off of their second album Fancy Ultra-Fresh. It makes me feel infinite. Listening to it at six in the morning when the sun starts to rise feels like nothing else. I’m soaring, flying sailing speeding through this world and beyond.

There is a dusty road somewhere that is most beautiful at 6 am

MIX TWO is complete. Sorry it took so long to get up, but I’m in-between apartments at the moment. When I get settled there will be more updates I promise!

The Last Record Store in Santa Rosa

The Monks' site
Rilo Kiley on Myspace
Bob Dylan's site
The Numero Group with info on Joe King and more!
Kanye West on Myspace
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone on Myspace
Otis Redding's site
The Pogues on Wikipedia
The Temptations on Wikipedia
Freezepop on Myspace

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Help! Comes to DVD...FINALLY!

The first time I saw the Richard Lester film Help! (1965) starring The Beatles was on an old VSH copy taped off of PBS. Since nobody has VCRs anymore I watched it on a TV less than the size of the computer monitor I’m typing on now. Not nearly as clever as A Hard Day’s Night (Richard Lester, 1964) but not nearly as obtuse as the Magical Mystery Tour (Paul McCartney, 1967), the film reached a nice middle ground that provided plenty of laughs and surreal sketches. Thanks to Pitchfork for giving me the heads up on a two-disc edition of Help! available for the first time (officially) on DVD. The film is digitally remastered and boasts a new 5.1 surround sound mix. The second disc has a standard set of extras (documentary, missing scene, cast & crew interview, trailers, etc.) but should be exciting nonetheless. For the truly fanatical Beatles fans (like me) you can drop your dollars on an even more deluxe set that includes the script, a 60-page booklet, poster, and other collector items. On October 30th we can party like its 1965!

My favorite song off of Help! and it’s accompanying scene in the film:

Pitchfork article
Help! on IMDB